Raffi Hovannisian: 'Big mining is poisoning Armenia'
Heritage party head Raffi Hovannisian has issued the following statement entitled “Citizen and Homeland are One and the Same”
By now it is clear that the rise of big mining in Armenia has been not a project of the national interest but a privilege of the chosen few, who have amassed fantastic fortunes while our country descends into poverty and despair.
In recent years we have witnessed grave violations under the guise of eminent domain, the destruction of historical monuments, and the obliteration of vast, prospering ecosystems. In place of lush forests, lakes of hazardous toxic waste cover Armenia. Our homeland is being poisoned.
The time for change has come. Today we must stand together to demand:
1) The reevaluation of all mining licenses in Armenia-including the license issued to the open mine at Teghout, the great forest of the Lori region;
2) The suspension of all pending licenses, in anticipation of a comprehensive and multi-faceted parliamentary investigation into the legality and transparency of the licensing process; and
3) The redrafting of the environmental code and the tax code to ensure that, in the future, national resources are extracted only with due regard for the environment and to the benefit of the entire Armenian people.
We the people wholeheartedly support Armenia’s economic development, but that will happen in earnest only when rights rule, the environment commands respect, and the rank-and-file citizen rises to become master of his homeland.